The daily Big Bash League preview charges down the wicket with BBL tips for first match of the playoffs – the Eliminator between the fourth-placed Strikers and fifth-placed Hurricanes at the MCG.
History: Played 15: Strikers 9 V Hurricanes 5 (1 No Result)
Last meeting: January 5, 2022: Strikers d Hurricanes by 7 wickets (29 balls remaining) at Adelaide Oval
Final Thoughts: Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes get the BBL playoffs underway in the do-or-die Eliminator.
The regular-season series was split, with both sides carving out impressive 7-wicket home wins over the other.
Matt Renshaw (63 off 41) led the way as the Strikers posted a competitive total of 5/175 in Hobart, but opener Ben McDermott (110* off 60) dominated the Adelaide attack to steer the Hurricanes home with nine balls to spare.
The tables turned in Adelaide with Peter Siddle (5/23) ripping through the ’Canes to dismiss them for the 126. Matthew Short (72* off 44) carried a very comfortable Strikers chase, mowing down the modest target with 29 balls left.
Strikers streaking, ‘Canes caned
After doing enough to seal a finals spot with one game to spare – winning clutch cliff-hangers against the Thunder (9 runs) and Renegades (6 runs) – the 7-7 Hurricanes finished the regular season ingloriously. The Hobart attack was helpless as Glenn Maxwell (154*) and the Stars (2/273) shattered BBL individual and team scoring records on Wednesday. Every Hurricanes bowler went for more than 10 an over. McDermott (55 off 33) and D’Arcy Short (41 off 36) provided a faint silver lining in the 106-run loss with some decent time at the crease.
The 6-8 Strikers stormed into the playoffs on the back of three straight wins over the Scorchers (6 wickets), Stars (23 runs) and Sixers (8 wickets). Fawad Ahmad picked up three-wicket hauls in two of those games, while unheralded Englishman Ian Cockbain announced himself as a finals wildcard by top-scoring against the heavyweight Scorchers and Sixers – including a match-winning 71* off 42 in the latter on Monday. Matt Renshaw racked up 50 off 31 against the Sixers, while Jono Wells (73 off 49) continued his strong form by top-scoring against the Stars.
Wells has moved into the top-five on the BBL run charts (409 runs at 34.08). Matthew Short (359 at 29.91) is second among Strikers players. Hurricanes opener McDermott topped the regular season standings with 571 runs at 51.90 in just 12 innings. D’Arcy Short (388 at 35.27) landed seventh despite recording just one half-century.
Siddle (23 wickets) is the Big Bash’s leading wicket-taker this season. Tom Rogers (18) tops the Hurricanes’ list.
Meanwhile, Australian Test stars Travis Head and Alex Carey have been named in the Strikers’ extended squad for the first time this season. Ashes hero Scott Boland is back in the Hurricanes’ ranks, but impressive leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane has finished his BBL stint.
After being destroyed at the same venue 48 hours earlier, I can’t see the $2.10 underdog Hurricanes turning it around sufficiently to oust the in-form Strikers.